The objective of every medicines regulatory authority (MRA) is to ensure that all medicines marketed in the respective country are of assured quality, safety and efficacy, and are accompanied by appropriate information to promote their rational use. Therefore, the existence of a reliable and accessible web site plays a vital role in providing independent regulatory information.
A study carried out by the World Health Organization in 2001 on the status of 51 MRA web sites operating nationally has now been updated and a report published which shows that the number of web sites has risen to 116 (1). Most criteria, such as frequency of updates, pharmacovigilance information and regulatory guidance for medicines marketing authorization have improved substantially, although navigability of web sites is still problematic. Overall, development of new MRA web sites over the past eight years is impressive and the number has more than doubled. It is remarkable how countries from all income categories have made efforts to launch and maintain web sites that provide the general public, health professionals and industry with good-quality regulatory information.